AMD A10-5800K - Trinity on the Desktop

11/22/2012 3:24:31 PM

AMD makes gains on the ground it won with Llano

When AMD’s desktop Llano APUs were released last year, the underdog of the CPU market had a product of which it could be proud. Llano’s integrated graphics core proved be in a different league to Intel’s HD graphics, and was actually able to play games at respectable settings without the need for a discrete graphics card. Sadly, Llano wasn’t able to keep up with Intel outside of games, however, with its scores in our Media Benchmarks suite lagging behind by quite significant margins.

Description: Description: Description: Description: AMD A10-5800K

The successor to Llano is finally here, though, and Trinity, as it’s codenamed, not only boasts a more powerful GPU, but an overhauled architecture to give it more grunt outside games too. Behind these improvements are the introduction of Piledriver modules – revamped versions of those featured in AMD’s recent FX-series CPUs that are equipped with 2MB of L2 cache each.

These house two x86 cores, with the A10-5800K offering two modules with a total of four cores, including 4MB of L2 cache overall.

As well as better power efficiency, AMD also claims that Trinity has less power leakage, better power efficiency, improved branch prediction and superior cacheing compared to both its Llano and Bulldozer architectures.

At $150.9, the A10-5800K is the fastest APU in AMD’s new A-series, which stretches all the way down to the A4-5300 at $72. The A10-5800K has a CPU frequency of 3.8GHz, but it can boost up to a lofty 4.2GHz. the GPU, meanwhile, is an AMD Radeon HD 7660D, with 384 stream processors and a GU clock speed of 800MHz.

As it has no on-board graphics memory, like Llano, the GPU relies on system RAM. This means that overclocking your memory or using faster DIMMs will mean that you’re essentially overclocking the GPU’s memory.

Thankfully, there appears to be plenty of available stock across the range; we hope it stays this way and don’t see the supply issues that plagued Llano. Sadly, however, if you did manage to get hold of a Socket FM1 APU, the A10-5800K isn’t backwards compatible. Instead, AMD has launched a new CPU socket called Socket FM2, meaning that Socket FM1 has had a fairly short life. However, AMD has promised to support Socket FM2 for at least one generation past Trinity. The A55 and A75 chipsets have made their way across to Socket FM2, and there’s also see a new chipset, called A85X, which boasts eight SATA 6Gbps ports as well as CrossFire X support with two discrete graphics cards. We’ll be looking at a few FM2 motherboards in our next issue, so watch this space.


In our image editing test, the A10-5800K was 5 per cent faster than the AMD A8-3870K with a score of 998, but it still lagged behind the Intel Core i3-2100, which managed 1,331. However, it was 12 per cent faster than the FX-8150, which shows that AMD has made considerable headway in improving x86 performance. In our video encoding test, the Intel Core i3-2100 was finally bettered, albeit by less than 60 points, with the AMD A10-5800K proving to be significantly faster than the AMD A8-3870K too.

Description: Description: Description: Description: AMD A10-5800K

The Core i3-2100 also had a slight lead in the multi-tasking test, but the A10-5800K was a massive 40 per cent faster than the A8-3870K and even beat the AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition. Overall, its score of 1,374 was noticeably faster than any previous Llano APU, and just 100 points short of matching the Intel Core i3-2100.

Moving on to games, in Left 4 Dead 2 at 1,680 x 1,050 with 16x AF and High settings, the A10-5800K was in a different league to the Intel Core i3-2100, which managed just 9fps compared to the A10-5800K’s 53fps minimum frame rate. At 1,920 x 1,080, the A10-5800K still had plenty of headroom, managing a minimum frame rate of 47fps.

As it has an unlocked multiplier, we also managed to overclock the A10-5800K to 4.4GHz using a vcore of 1.5V – a 200MHz increase over its Turbo frequency, while the GPU was happy run at 844MHz. this isn’t a massive overclock, however, and not surprisingly, it didn’t yield massive gains in our Media Benchmarks suite, with the overall score rising just 28 points.

However, Left 4 Dead 2 saw a 4fps rise in the minimum frame rate at 1,680 x 1,050, and 2fps at 1,280 x 720. The biggest gain was seen when we dropped in some 2,133MHz Corsair Dominator GT memory though. This saw the minimum frame rate in Left 4 Dead 2 at 1,280 x 720 rise from 73fps to 78fps at stock speed. Clearly, using faster memory has a sizeable impact on gaming performance. Meanwhile, power consumption for the whole system was 149W under load, rising to 195W once overclocked.

Description: Description: Description: Description: FM2 CPUs aren’t backwards compatible with FM1, requiring new mother boards, such as this Asus F2A85-M Pro

FM2 CPUs aren’t backwards compatible with FM1, requiring new mother boards, such as this Asus F2A85-M Pro


Trinity is clearly superior to Llano, and goes a long way to plugging the gap in x86 performance between AMD and Intel’s budget chips. With Intel recently releasing its Ivy Bridge Core i3 CPUs, this was important step for AMD. However, the new A-series APUs still have limited appeal. A Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Core-i3 CPU is a better option if you don’t play games, and even if you do, spending more on a discrete graphics card, such as a Radeon HD 7850, will yield far more performance at 1,920 x 1,080 and above. However, if you’re looking to spend no more than $160.5 on a CPU and graphics card, it’s the perfect choice.


Trinity: Good value for money; faster than Intel HD 4000 graphics in games; better x86 performance than Llano

Cypher: Intel still faster in most x86 applications; not backwards compatible with Socket FM1

Price: $150.9

Manufacturer: www.amd.com


In detail

·         Frequency: 3.8GHz (4.4GHz Turbo Frequency)

·         Core: Piledriver

·         GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7660D

·         Number of cores: 4x physical

·         Cache: L1: 2 x 64KB shared instruction caches, 4 x 16KB data caches (192KB in total) L2: 4MB

·         Packaging: FM2

·         Thermal design power (TDP): 100W

·         Features: SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4a, SSE4.2, 256-bit AVW, AESNI, AMD64, Cool ‘n’ Quiet 3.0, AMD-V, MMX, FMA4, XOP


Speed: 3/5

Features: 4/5

Value: 4/5



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